Rugby: Alan Solomons slams Edinburgh despite win

Edinburgh's Willem Nel scores a vital try against Treviso. Picture: SNS
Edinburgh's Willem Nel scores a vital try against Treviso. Picture: SNS
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There was a mixed reaction from Edinburgh coach Alan Solomons as he reflected on a second RaboDirect PRO12 win of the season for the Capital outfit at Murrayfield last night.

While delighted to see his men bounce back from a second-half lapse to see off Treviso 20-13, Solomons made no secret of his annoyance at the profligacy of his players during a match they had dominated.

“We had loads of possession, we dominated them for most of the game and we were just frenetic,” said Solomons. ”It’s probably the most possession we’ve had all season and it was like we almost had too much possession in a way.

“The error rate was shocking. It was very, very poor. It wasn’t a good performance by us. We had a lot of ball and we just got frenetic. That was the bottom line. Because we played at such a frenetic pace, we made a lot of mistakes.

“And, instead of being cool, calm and composed and taking our try-scoring opportunities, we didn’t. Then they get a try and suddenly the game is level.”

However, despite his disappointment, Solomons will have taken heart from the contribution of several key men, not least Greig Tonks, Matt Scott and Dave Denton who were all returning from injury.

Solomons had suggested in the days leading up to the match that the side he had selected was close to full strength, and the performance they produced was certainly transformed from the slipshod 
affair in the last league outing at home to Scarlets.

In contrast to that previous encounter, Edinburgh raced from the block and looked comfortable playing at pace. However, as Solomons would later point out, that pace became counterproductive as their eagerness became desperation in sight of the opposition line.

The home side dictated the pace during the opening quarter and should have been further ahead than the seven-point advantage they held after Tonks hurtled in at the corner in 12 minutes and Greig Laidlaw converted.

The hosts then lost the services of Tim Visser, with the winger suffering an ankle injury that will be assessed over the weekend before any decision is taken over the implications for his involvement in the autumn test series.

A penalty by Laidlaw in 
response to a three-pointer by James Ambrosini saw Edinburgh into a 10-3 half time lead, and at that stage, they appeared to be well on track for a win that would see them move them off the bottom of the table.

A second penalty by Laidlaw stretched the lead to ten points entering the final quarter, but the inability of the hosts to hammer home their superiority looked likely to take its toll when Luke McLean was allowed to stroll through for a try – albeit there was a hint of obstruction. Tobias Botes added the extras then landed a penalty to square matters.

For the first time in the game, Edinburgh were on the back foot. To their credit, they survived a shaky spell and Willem Nel forced his way over for a try, converted by Laidlaw that eased Solomons’ men back into a lead they retained until the final whistle.

However, they had to survive a frantic finale as Treviso laid siege to the home line. That they did earned plaudits from the coach, who also gave credit to his defence assistant Omar Mouneimne and the progress he is making, saying, “Our defence is really good. There may have been a bit of blocking for their try but I thought the defensive effort throughout the night was good and at the end it was superb.” And while he estimated that his men had wasted at least six try scoring opportunities, Solomons added, “The positive things are that we got a result, the guys showed the resolve to hang in there and get the win, which is important.” Of those aspects, he said, “They are all part of building blocks, but we’ve got to take the lessons from this and the lessons are that when you dominate possession and territory like that, if you’re cool, calm and collected, you’ll pick up your points. We should have had a bonus point and we didn’t get it.”

Scorers: Edinburgh: Tries: Tonks, Nel. Conversions: Laidlaw (2). Penalties: Laidlaw (2) Treviso: Try: McLean. Con: Botes. Pens: Botes, Ambrosini.

Edinburgh: G Tonks, D Fife, N De Luca, M Scott, T Vissser J Cuthbert 22), H Leonard, G Laidlaw, A Dickinson, R Ford, W Nel, G Gilchrist, S Cox (I Van der Westhuizen 69) D Basalaia (T Leonardi 38), C Du Preez, D Denton (I Lutui 79)

Treviso: B Williams, L Nitoglia, L Morisi (L McLean 40), A Sgarbi, C Loamanu, J Ambrosini, F Semenzato (T Botes 53), M Rizzo, E Ceccato, L Cittadini (M Filippucci 63), A Pavanello, M Fuser, D Budd (I Fernandez-Rouyet 63), A Zanni, M Vosawal.

Referee: A Rolland (Ireland).